Not Pro-Choice? Not Safe.
I believe that misogyny lies at the heart of being anti-choice (or pro- “life” as they are more commonly mis-named). I’m yet to hear a convincing argument that disproves this, though many people will try and claim they care just as much about the pregnant person — in reality all they care about is that she has her options removed and has to have a child, if necessary by enforced pregnancy and forced birth.
So yeah, misogyny. Here’s the thing about misogyny, it’s ALL around us, all the time every day. We’ve all internalised it. Not so long ago I found myself remarking out loud (a negative comment) about a random woman’s hair. As soon as I said it I was mortified. Worse still I’d said it in front of my 14 year old daughter. I immediately told her that it was wrong of me to comment on and be mean and judgey about another woman’s appearance. I explained to my daughter that I have internalised misogyny. I guess that was one good thing that came out of it but I felt awful that my mind had gone there and the comment just slipped out. I kinda thought I was past that but I guess the internalised misogyny is still in there and I have to remain ever-vigilant.
Over the last 5 years I’ve been cutting loads of people out of my life. It has been a conscious effort to move away from my past lack of discernment when it came to who I let into my energetic, online and real life space. As part of that I got rid of anyone who was an out and proud misogynist. Because people like that actually hate women. And they have no respect for us either, so I figured, why would I want anyone in my space who hated me? So I defriended them all or let the friendships slide.
Next up I went for the passive aggressive haters, the people who would always “like” other people’s mean or attacky comments on my facebook page (you know those people right?). And I felt into each person and I asked myself “Does this person even like me?” and the answer was always no. Their actions had been telling me all along that they didn’t like me, I just hadn’t been listening properly — so I got rid of them too.
Then I looked at who the anti choice people were in my life. The thing is that I find people who are anti-choice particularly frightening, because they don’t feel ‘safe’ to me. If you are anti — choice then you don’t respect my bodily autonomy — I find that scary as fuck. Like I wouldn’t trust someone who doesn’t really understand and get the concept of bodily autonomy to be around children either — it is a scary set of values that leads to some dark places. Anti choicers don’t respect me to make decisions about my own life. They don’t trust any woman to do that, so they don’t trust or respect women. I went out with a guy once who didn’t trust or respect women and it took me years to recover from the relationship. I was raped by a man who didn’t trust, respect or like women and who didn’t understand body autonomy. Anti choice people come from this same space of lack of respect for women, that makes them unsafe emotionally and unsafe physically.
Anti choice people also lack compassion. They’re like religious fanatics in that they feel entitled to push their beliefs and ideas onto other people. Even though these beliefs directly contradict international human rights standards and will never affect them personally, (cause like no one is forcing anyone to have an abortion they don’t want). These are people who literally campaign and march on protests to try and take human rights off other people. The only other group of people I can think of who do this are the KKK.
They also have a lot in common with domestic abusers, which I wrote about in more detail here. There are a LOT of reasons to not have anti choice people in your life. My reasons are self love and safety. Plus, I want to live in a world where forcing extremist views onto others is not socially acceptable. And I know that actions not words are what creates change in the world. So my actions have been a shit ton of scary conversations with people where I’ve let them know that their actively campaigning to take away my rights does not make them a good friend or family member to me.
I see this as an act of self love towards myself. I no longer have people who don’t respect me and who want to control me in my life. And that my friends, is a joyous thing ❤
* I used the word ‘woman’ in this piece to highlight the misogyny of the anti-choice movement but trans men, non binary people and intersex people are also affected by lack of abortion services AND by misogyny.*